• Thursday, October 05, 2023
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Police crackdown to make Berhampur gutkha-free

Cracking the whip on gutkha manufacturers and traders, police have seized Narendra Sahu's bank deposits worth Rs 28 lakhs.

Pradeep Pattanayak
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Police crackdown to make Berhampur gutkha-freePhotoPhoto: OTV

Sadar police station, Berhampur.

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In a move to free Berhampur city from the clutches of gutkha traders, the city police is contemplating on confiscating assets accumulated by such traders. 

The first to get the whip is Narendra Sahu whose bank deposits worth Rs 28 lakhs have been frozen. The action was taken following a raid at his factory at Baunsiapalli. 

“As per the direction of our SP, we have started confiscating illegally obtained assets of gutkha traders. As part of our drive against these traders, we have seized Narendra Sahu’s Rs 28,25,148,  deposited in his ICICI bank account. If the investigation reveals his other bank deposits, they will be seized as well,” informed Berhampur ASP Ramesh Chandra Sethy.
Berhampur has earned infamy for being billed as a haven for gutkha manufacturers and traders. Despite the fact that the police in the last 4 years have conducted raids at different locations and seized gutkha and raw materials worth crores of rupees, the police are yet to root out the illegal business which is alleged to have stricken its root deep. 

In the last month alone, four big gutkha manufacturing units were raided and materials worth crores were seized. 

When asked why success is still elusive to Berhampur police, advocate Raghunath Panigrahi said, “The business is flourishing not only in Berhampur but also across the state because manufacturers and traders earn bucks easily. If the gutkha business is genuinely wanted to be rooted out, then police and district administration should act jointly. The move to confiscate their assets would go a long way in getting rid of them as it would make them financially poor enough to rerun their business.”

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